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For Christmas we decided to get a ride-on toy car for our son as he was becoming more adventurous and was starting to out-grow his other manual ride-on toys. We wanted something that he could drive rather than use his legs with (like the Little Tikes car he currently has) so we searched the web for some ideas. It didn't take us long to stumble across a website offering toy cars for a reasonable price (kidscarsdirect.com). We searched the site for several minutes through the selection of cars and trucks they had on offer. There seemed to be several types of car ranging from budget to licensed with a choice of 6 or 12V. The licensed cars were manufactured in Italy by ToysToys and are the only company to work directly with car manufacture like Porsche and Ferari to ensure that replicas are built with quality and durability. Sadly however, our budget only stretched to around £100 so we opted for a 6V budget model that was surprisingly remote controlled and could play music!
We placed our order for a very reasonable £96.99 (considering the same product was around £120 elsewhere) and eagerly awaited delivery.
Out of the box *******************
When the item arrived by courier a few weeks before Christmas we un-packed all the items and set about putting it all together. We noticed that the main frame of the car was already complete with the stickers already attached to the windscreen and licence plate. My only gripe with this was that the windscreen sticker was not seated correctly so it was slightly off line and one of the plastic car logos stuck out slightly were the plastic hole clip did not quite fit into the hole it was meant for. Albeit this didn't bother us too much.
Now came the harder part with putting it together. The plastic alloys for the wheels just required us to clip them on with a tiny bit of pressure until they clicked in place. Next we attached the rear seat guard (which looks like a spoiler) which was a simple click into its place. The wing mirrors were very simple to install by just clicking them into either side of the car body next to the windscreen. These have reflective stickers so that you can see a slight resemblance of yourself in them but it isn't perfect as it is a bit blurred.
We were slightly confused when it came to the wire assembly. Although some of the wiring was in place it required us to hook up some of the connectors which we spent several minutes analysing from the manual. This wasn't as easy as first thought but we got there in the end. Next we attached the steering wheel and linked up those wires before screwing in the seat. It is worth noting that the seat is adjustable so that you can move it closer to the pedals inside the car if your child is short and can't reach. After we were done we turned on the switches for the car
Pictures of Sports Roadster
Kids ride-on toy with remote control.
ready to see it in action and ..............Nothing! It was completely dead! Figuring we'd done something wrong we unscrewed the car seat again and checked over the wiring. It turned out that we'd connected one of the wires up wrong but quickly figured what needed to be done to resolve it. The morale of the assembly is to check it works first before screwing the seat on!
This time we switched on the ignition switch and heard an almighty 'BRUM BROOM' sound as the engine sounds kicked in and the headlights on the car lit up. The car however didn't react to the pedal push to move forward even after flicking the switch into a forward position. We figured this was due to it needing an overnight charge (which turned out to be a correct diagnosis). A typical charge time for a dead battery is roughly 10 hours.
All in all I think it took us about 35 minutes from start to finish to assemble the car which is pretty reasonable. I'm sure if you read the manual carefully you could do it a lot quicker.
Car Operation & Remote Control **************************************
As briefly mentioned in the assembly, there are 2 switches to turn on power to the car and to switch the lights on. You can't switch on the lights unless there is power to the car. These however seem to be either labelled up wrong on the dashboard or the built in switches that were initially installed at manufacture were put in the wrong way round as the light switch powers it on and the power switch turns on the lights! Once the car is on you can't operate the pedal unless the forward/back switch is in one of the two positions. As a default it is normally in a neutral position. The steering wheel can be turned regardless of whether the car is powered on as this is activated by a motor which doesn't need power. On the steering wheel there are several buttons to make sounds, with the middle horn button making a horn sound, the left and right hand buttons making a "Turn Left" and "Turn Right" voice respectively and the lower button which plays 1 of 3 different short music tunes each time it is pressed. As this car comes with the ability to play MP3, you only need to connect a standard audio jack cable into the music connector on the dash board together with your MP3 player to play your own custom sounds. This is not something we have managed to fully test yet although you would need a small MP3 player to fit it under the steering wheel into its handy compartment (or at least that's what it appears to be for).
Our child was 2 and a half when he had this for Christmas so he was just old enough to operate it himself. When he first set eyes on it he couldn't wait to jump in. As soon as he climbed into the car however, he was quick to jump out and run a mile after the noises it made when powering on. We convinced him that it was ok and showed him how to operate the horn which he liked and this gave him more confidence to stay in the car and have a play about with it. When we showed him how to operate the pedals and move the car he didn't like this one bit and he became scared to sit in it. It wasn't until he had a go on his cousin's motorised bike (which was a lot smaller) that he became more confident with the car once more. We were beginning to think after a few weeks that our bargain was turning out to be a waste of money. However he started to come round and within a few days he was happily moving around the living room on his own and loving every minute of it.
Indoors the car was pretty nifty on our laminate flooring and handled our carpet rug perfectly. Outside the car was fine on flat tarmac surfaces but struggled a bit with grass as it made it go a bit slow. It is estimated that the car can reach speeds of up to 3mph with a 6V battery, although the 12V models can reach 5mph.
One day we decided to take our son down to the end of our street to his grandparent's house in his car. We decided to try out the remote control that came with it to try and put some control into our hands as being a young toddler he was not very obedient when it came to staying on the pavement. The remote took 3 AA batteries and had up, down, left and right buttons on either side to control the direction. This was not a twisty knob control so it is not as accurate with turns as you might have hoped although it did the job.
If you wanted to you could also use the remote to control the car without anyone inside it although it's a bit over-kill for a remote controlled car.
The car operates well and is easy for your child to get to grips with in terms of switching it on and moving back and forth. Our son picked this up straight away and only occasionally needs some assistance in getting out of tight spots.
The seating on the car is fully adjustable according to your child's height and comes with a seat belt which is great for keeping your child safe when using outside.
The MP3 function is a great addition to the car so that you can play whatever you like whilst riding. We are planning on putting some child friendly songs onto an MP3 player which our son enjoys to encourage him to use it a bit more. You will have to control this yourself though from the player but you can quite easily store it in the compartment below the steering and leave it to run.
The battery life of the car so far seems to be holding well. Our son can usually play with the car on and off for a week or two before it requires charging again. This much depends on whether you leave the lights on the car switched on as this will drain it quicker. We usually notice if our son has left them on and regularly switch them off.
In reference to the remote control features we were disappointed to discover that there was no over-ride on the controls, which meant that your child would be fighting with you for control of the steering. As a result it made it impossible to keep the car on the pavement whilst outside if your child kept trying to steer it into the road. It would have been nice if there was a way to disable the steering easily so that your child could still turn the wheel but not the wheels themselves.
The other annoyance with the car is that you are unable to adjust the volume of the sounds and music. As a default the sounds are quite loud and they become very irritating after a few hours of constant booming! We could possibly combat this by disconnecting the sound wire from inside but it is a time consuming task to remove the seat each time. It's just a shame there wasn't a simple sound adjustment switch.
With the 6V model you do lose a bit of power on grass and other un-even surfaces so if you want something a bit faster and more powerful then I would suggest a 12V model but for our needs the 6V car was fine.
My only other issue with the car was the build quality. After only a few months the horn button was worn a bit and regularly gets stuck inside the steering wheel and needs to be pulled back out. It would have been nice if this was made a bit more sturdier.
As the car is quite bulky you will need plenty of room in your house for your child to get the best out of it. We are lucky enough to have a large living room and a play room which he can ride in and out of but if you have a small house and not much room then this may be something to consider as you may be better off with a motorised bike.
In addition to some of the cons I've already mentioned, when my son was playing with the car the other day he managed to pull a wire out from under the dashboard which stopped the car moving. We did however manage to find out where this was disconnected from and reconnected it securely. I do feel that there are several things they could have made better with this car and hiding the wires more is one of them.
The remote control feature is a great gadget so long as your child is not trying to steer themselves. If they are much like my son then you won't be using this very often as he doesn't like it when we are controlling where he is going, he prefers to have his independence much like everything else he does!
Overall, for the price of the car and despite some of its negatives I would say it's still a bargain and worth buying. You can't expect too much for a ride-on toy under £100 and our son has had lots of fun with it. If you do have a bit more money to spend as a budget then you may want to go for one of the vehicles made by ToysToys which have superior build quality and are made to last.
From this website our car came with a personalised driving licence and number plate sticker for free which was an added bonus.
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